We’re all so happy to see Shane Lowry winning the Open. An incredible achievement and one to be celebrated. Sadly though, all the images I’m seeing take place in a pub with lots of talk of filling the claret jug with alcohol and drinking brandy.
Grandmother has first brandy in ten years
Yes, “Grandmother has first brandy in 10 years“, is an actual headline from our national news broadcaster here on the RTE news website.
In a terrific interview with Shane’s lovely Granny Scanlon, when she spoke about how proud she was of her Grandson, our national broadcaster highlights alcohol.
Mrs Scanlon mentions she had two brandies when she had not drunk for ten years. She was honest enough to admit the brandies “nearly killed her”. Now, we’re not criticising Mrs Scanlon, suggesting she has a drink problem or she should not drink.
We’re criticising our national broadcaster for once again celebrating alcohol to generate a good headline. Ignoring all the other lovely stuff, Mrs Scalon said, any of which would have been interesting. For example, Shane eating the turf.
A woman drinking her first brandy in years is a news headline. The RTE headlines reflects a toxic culture that celebrating always means alcohol.
Philly Mc Mahon calls stop
Philly Mc Mahon disagrees. The talented Dublin footballer and Gym owner does not drink. He believes Irish people have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, He states Irish people believe
“Ah sure, we’re Irish we like to drink, we still glamorise the whole culture around it, without realising it still destroys whole families.”
Last year, when Philly was on the Late Late show and alcohol was mentioned, there was a big cheer. Unlike most people Philly was offended. Philly has worked to try and change this and I’m looking forward to reading his book “The Choice”.
A long way to go
Despite Philly’s and many other people’s efforts, as we can see from a headline celebrating someone drinking, we’ve still a long way to go to change drinking culture. The media do not help and could do so much more.
Instead of colluding with the alcohol industry to keep us believing that alcohol is harmless, they could warn us about alcohol harm.
Now days the media always end reports on suicide with
“If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this programme you can contact the following helpline numbers….”
So if they can do it with suicide, imagine if the media ended all reports on alcohol with
“Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can kill, if you’ve been affected by alcohol harm, you can contact the following helpline numbers…”
A seductive red
So imagine after every wine review, talking about a
“Very seductive, soft, sweet, strawberry, Pinot Noir,
Or every article talking about new gins
“A funky orange gin that will be especially popular in the rebel county”
(Both recent quotes)
The article or interview had a warning
“Alcohol is a psychoactive drug that can kill, if you’ve been affected by alcohol harm, you can contact the following helpline numbers….”
It would be an initial start to reducing the passion of our toxic love affair with alcohol.
Until the media stop selling the idea, that alcohol is this harmless party drug and instead have to warn people that alcohol is a psychoactive drug, we’ll continue to see too many people being harmed by alcohol.
After all, when we stopped allowing cigarette advertising and put warnings on packets we started to see attitudes towards smoking changing. Now smoking is not cool, and for the first time ever we now have more ex-smokers than actual smokers.
This all happened as part of a big public health campaign but it shows it is possible to change attitudes with good leadership. The media has a major role to play in this.
Ignore the hype
So it’s difficult to avoid the hype that celebrating means we drink. However, just be aware, that’s all it is- hype. It’s possible to enjoy ourselves without alcohol. And as Mrs Scanlon found alcohol can take away from the enjoyment of happy occasions.